Fr. Robert Bengry: Work
I had the opportunity to say the Mass at the little Catholic Church that still stands near the old Bengry homestead near the Montana border where this photograph (and others featured on this blog) was taken. When you look out across the prairie, and up into that big old sky, it seems not much has changed since my kin lived and died on that soil. But of course so much has.
One of the major changes has been work. My granddad farmed the way he knew how according to the old ways — a few chickens, a couple of hogs, goats, cattle, a big old milk cow and some sheep. The tractor I learned how to drive was from 1938, the new one from 1954 or so. I spent a lot of time with him and am grateful for the experience of that kind of farming. It’s hard work but it’s the kind that’s good for the soul.
Farming is very different now. Big machinery. Plenty of land. Small families.
Work in general is very different; the move from physical labour to hours behind a desk for example. So much of that kind of work is bad for the body and bad for the soul.
St. Benedict tells us in his Rule, there needs to be a balance between manual labour, study and the opus Dei. It’s a balance that seems difficult to get right in this day and age. — Fr. Bengry
The photograph: From the Bengry collection. Copyright 2019. All Rights Reserved.